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Detroit Wants To Arrest Shepard Fairey

The famous street artist is wanted for slapping Andre the Giant posters all over town.

Detroit Wants To Arrest Shepard Fairey
[Top Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images. Posters: Flickr user Marco Raaphorst]

Better send Robocop. Shepard Fairey, the world famous street and mural artist, is a wanted man in Detroit.

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A warrant for Fairey’s arrest was filed in Michigan’s 36th District Court, in connection with two counts of malicious destruction of property. If he’s arrested and convicted, Fairey could face five years in jail, plus $10,000 worth of fines.

Fairey’s crime? While in Detroit last month to paint an 18-story-mural on One Campus Martius for Dan Gilbert’s Bedrock Real Estate Services–the artist’s largest work to date–Fairey slapped some of his signature Andre the Giant posters on up to 14 buildings between May 16 and May 22.

The posters, which are about 4 feet by 4 feet, are removable, but police say they caused the highly specific sum of $9,105.54 in damages.

An example of OBEY posters in HollandFlickr user Marco Raaphorst

“Just because he is a well-known artist does not take away the fact that he is also a vandal,” Police Sgt. Rebecca McKay, who oversees the city’s graffiti task force, told The Detroit Free Press. “And that’s what we consider was done, in these instances, was vandalism.”

Police say that Fairey will be arrested if he comes back to Detroit, where Fairey last worked in the early 2000s as a guerilla street artist, tagging public spaces without permission. Since then, Fairey has gone on to become an internationally respected artist, and has seen mainstream success as the creator of Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign “Hope” poster.

Something tells me Fairey will take being Detroit’s public enemy in stride. He’s been arrested for defacing public property almost 15 times in his career. It goes hand-in-hand with what he does.

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Still, the irony of Detroit issuing an arrest warrant for Fairey is hard to ignore: one of the country’s most run-down, derelict cities with a rampant graffiti problem trying to arrest one of the few street artists whose work could probably drive up property values.

Read more on the Detroit Free Press.